Some of the fatal accidents usually involve pedestrians because pedestrians are more exposed and may easily sustain injuries when hit by a motor vehicle. Accidents are often a scary experience for many people, not only because of the long recovery time required but also due to the large sums of money required to settle hospital bills.
If the victim has no income, they may be forced into severe debt while paying for treatment.
While accidents can be daunting, a pedestrian accident lawyer may help ease things by representing accident victims to ensure they are compensated for their sustained injuries or loved ones lost in the ordeal.
The pedestrian accident lawyer works to protect the victim’s legal rights when they focus on their journey to full recovery.
Although fighting for fair compensation is also not easy, having a qualified pedestrian accident lawyer simplifies the process as the lawyer will handle everything, including advising the victim on the proper steps to take.
If you or your loved one is involved in a pedestrian accident, contact Klotzman Pedestrian Accident Lawyer to begin your journey toward compensation. They have the relevant experience to handle your case and give you the advice you need as you go through the medical and legal process.
Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
There are many factors that would cause a pedestrian to be hit by a car, leading to an accident. Here are some major causes of pedestrian accidents.
Failure to Yield Right of Way
Even when pedestrians obey all traffic rules, there’s still a possibility of being involved in accidents caused mainly by inattentive drivers.
The right of way means a car must let a pedestrian or another car pass across the road at appropriate points. For example, if the traffic light indicates that a pedestrian should proceed onto the crosswalk, then a driver must allow the pedestrian to use the road before they can drive through the crosswalk.
Failure to yield the right of way could occur when the motorist or pedestrian commits a traffic offense by continuing to use the road without giving precedence to others.
While speeding can help a motorist get to their desired location sooner, exceeding the posted speed limit is dangerous as it places the driver at risk of losing control of the motor vehicle, jeopardizing the lives of pedestrians and other motorists using the road. In fact, speeding is a major cause of road accidents.
Accidents may also occur when drivers drive at the correct speeds, but such are rare, and if they happen, they are less severe than accidents caused by speeding.
Speeding leads to accidents because of the following reasons:
- It reduces the ability of the driver to steer around objects, people, or bends
- Reduces the effectiveness of safety belts, airbags, and other protective devices.
- Increases the potential of a driver losing control of the vehicle.
- Increases the stopping distance when a driver notices an emergency ahead.
The chances of horrible injury and even worse death are higher while speeding is a factor, unlike in situations whereby a motor vehicle is moving slowly.
Driving Under the Influence
Getting behind a vehicle’s wheel under the influence of alcohol is a crime. Driving when one is intoxicated often referred to as driving under influence, means operating a car when one’s blood alcohol content level is anything from 0.08% and above.
Even small amounts of alcohol are unsafe as they may cause bad situations. Although some people may not show signs when under the influence, there’s still a risk of causing accidents.
Alcohol impacts an individual’s ability to drive just as it would affect how a person performs other tasks.
There are many ways in which alcohol can impair anyone’s driving skills, and below is a breakdown:
Affects coordination – Too much drinking affects eye, hand, and foot coordination. It’s difficult to avoid a harmful situation when one lacks coordination skills. Some ways to tell one’s reduced coordination are the inability to stand correctly, difficulty walking, and swaying.
Slow Reaction Time – When one is under the influence, one usually responds slowly to situations. Driving under such a condition increases the possibility of accidents. For instance, a drunk driver may take a long time to react when a pedestrian crosses the road.
Concentration Difficulty – Alcohol affects an individual’s ability to concentrate even when taken in small amounts. Drivers require a lot of contraction, mainly because they must maintain an appropriate speed, stay in the right lane, watch out for other cars, and observe traffic signals. It’s challenging to keep track of these situations after drinking hence a higher likelihood of causing an accident.
Affects Judgement – Judgment skills determine how a person makes decisions, which are controlled by the brain. When driving, judgment helps them remain alert and aware of what is happening around them.
Impacts Vision – Taking too much alcohol negatively affects one’s vision. People often experience blurred vision or difficulty controlling eye movement after consuming alcohol. Impaired vision may limit a person’s ability to judge the distance between their motor vehicle and a pedestrian or other cars. Moreover, it may be a problem to spot everything on the road when one is drunk, which can lead to accidents.
Proper lighting plays a vital role in preventing road accidents, although most people often underestimate the damage likely to be caused by poor lighting. With inadequate lighting, drivers may not be able to see road signs, hazards on the road, pedestrians, or other vehicles.
When there’s poor lighting, for instance, in case street lighting fails, road users can navigate safely by slowing down, which helps them see objects around them.
Distracted driving is an activity that limits someone’s attention when they are driving. Things like talking to people, using a cell phone, eating, and drinking can all take a person’s attention away.
Distractions can be of three types, namely manual distractions, visual distractions, and cognitive distractions. Manual distractions happen when a driver takes the hand off the wheel, while visual distractions occur if one takes their eyes off the road. On the other hand, cognitive distraction often results from the brain deviating from the driving experience. All these distractions may increase the risk of road accidents.
It’s difficult to react to road conditions when a driver is distracted. A distracted driver can cause accidents when they:
- Fail to stop when a pedestrian is crossing the road.
- Swerve out of their lane and meet other cars.
- Don’t stop at a red light.
Anything that takes a person’s attention from the road can be referred to as distracted driving and should be avoided.
What Should I Do After a Pedestrian Accident?
One should know what to do immediately after an accident to avoid escalating the situation. What a person does moments after a pedestrian accident will be important in the long run.
Here is how anyone should react after they find themselves in a pedestrian accident.
Seek Immediate Medical Assistance
The first step after a pedestrian accident is to call emergency medical services, that’s if the emergency personnel doesn’t respond to the situation immediately.
Individuals hit by a vehicle end up with cuts, scrapes, shock, bruises, broken bones, and other internal damage. A medical expert should see the victim immediately to fix the situation, or it could become life-threatening.
While minor injuries like cuts and bruises may not cause much damage, broken bones can ruin one’s life.
Drivers should immediately respond when they hit a pedestrian to prevent severe damage and save a life.
There is usually a lot of chaos after an accident happens, however, it’s essential to document all aspects of injury to make the compensation process easier. Insurance companies will request evidence to prove the extent of one’s injuries; if it’s insufficient or lacking, a person’s claim may be unsuccessful.
Below are ways in which victims can document their injuries after an accident.
Organize the Medical File
While at the hospital, one should ask the doctor to give them a copy of all medical records that show the treatment they received after an accident. The forms could be many, but it’s helpful to store all of them safely since each provides critical information that gives evidence of the seriousness of the injuries.
The medical file may contain forms like:
- Test results
- Medical expenses
- Medical imaging results
- Benefit letters
Medical expenses are essential in determining the amount of compensation after making an injury claim.
Take Photos and Videos at the Scene
Accident victims should take pictures of their injuries when they acquire them, if possible. It includes taking clear photos of even minor injuries. One should also take videos as they can capture the situation better.
Photographing and recording videos of injuries should not end at the scene of the accident, but the individual should do the same even as they recover.
The pictures and videos should be kept safely, and even generate copies if possible.
Besides the injuries, it’s also essential to document the accident scene using photos and videos, and it can be done by taking pictures of the car that caused the accident, and road hazards present at the scene, among others.
Speak to Witnesses
Witnesses can be helpful during the process of an injury claim. Ask everyone at the accident scene for the account of events, and record all the details carefully.
Record the following details related to a witness after talking to them:
- Full names
- Contact information (Phone number and email address)
- Address location
With information from witnesses, one can even hire an attorney to help interpret the events.
Maintain a Journal
Keeping a journal of injuries is also another way of documenting the situation. One can do it by noting their thoughts, feelings, and impressions immediately after the accident and during recovery.
Maintaining a journal also helps the victim record how they feel, for example, in case they feel stressed or restless, which can be helpful when seeking treatment.
Contact the Police
Sometimes the driver or the witnesses will contact the police after an accident, but if it doesn’t happen, one can ask someone to help them do it. The police will help the victim to file an official report. The police will often alert emergency personnel after receiving information about an accident which is crucial in ensuring victims receive first aid and treatment as soon as possible.
Don’t Discuss Fault on the Scene or with the Motorist’s Insurance Company
Whether there are facts showing the party that led to the accident, the victim should never discuss fault on the scene because they are not experts on pedestrian accidents. Too much talk is dangerous because any word uttered can be used against the victim. The same thing applies when the individual is dealing with the motorist’s company – silence is always the best weapon.
If one needs to discuss the accident, they must do so with their attorney, insurance company, or a medical expert. These are the only parties that want the best outcome for the victim.
The motorist’s insurance company could send documents to the victim in search of signatures, but such advances should be rejected. However, one can provide details like their contact information and that of their attorney to the motorist’s insurance company. It’s also important to ask for the company’s information, like the name, phone number, and address.
Reach Out to Your Insurance Company
If the individual has car insurance, they should contact the relevant company since many insurance policies often cover such cases.
Seek Legal Assistance
When one is involved in an accident, one often ends up suffering emotionally, physically, and even financially. Insurance companies will try as much as possible to reduce the compensation they provide the victim, which is why one needs someone to fight for their rights.
An attorney understands a pedestrian’s legal rights, so getting in touch with one before deciding to take any legal step is essential.
How to Determine Liability or Fault in a Pedestrian Accident
When an accident occurs between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, the law must always determine fault. The party at fault or liable must then pay for damages.
Duty of Care
Road users, including pedestrians and drivers, have a legal responsibility to ensure they don’t harm others on the road.
Drivers are expected to have skill and care, and there’s usually no exception for an unskilled driver. They must also understand that other road users may lack the necessary care, skill, and experience while using the road.
Pedestrians also have a duty when crossing the road and must be careful to avoid accidents. It’s important to note that drivers are free to assume that pedestrians will observe traffic laws and exercise a duty of care.
While blind pedestrians may not be able to observe carefully before crossing the road, they’re also not exempt from exercising the duty of care. Simply put, all individuals on the road are accountable, so if one has any impairment, they must use any assistance they have to exercise care like an ordinary pedestrian would.
Breach of Duty
When one fails to exercise their duty of care, that is considered a breach of duty. For example, a driver who drives under the influence, speeds, and a pedestrian that does not observe traffic lights before crossing a street are all breaching their duty of care.
Breach of duty is often regarded as negligence. In some cases, foreseeability is needed to create a duty of care. It means that if a court determines that the damage was foreseeable, the responsible party was negligent. A good example is drunk driving since it’s foreseeable that drinking and operating a car will lead to an accident.
Causation is the relationship between a person’s behavior and another individual’s injury. It means that one has to prove that the other person inflicted damage and injury on them, otherwise, the damage may have existed even before the accident.
Even before claiming that another individual was negligent on the road injuring someone else, it’s compulsory first to prove that they caused these injuries. If one fails to show how the act led to the injury, the claim will always be unsuccessful.
Two questions must be answered when dealing with causation: Did a given act lead to a particular outcome? Would this specific outcome have happened, assuming the action didn’t happen in the first place?
Parties involved in an accident can file a claim for compensation for the injuries suffered due to someone else’s mistakes.
Damages are the amount of money the injured individual gets as a result of the negligence or recklessness of the defendant. There are two types of damages – economic and non-economic damages.
The actions of the defendant cause these damages. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Mental suffering
- Physical impairment
- When the quality of life is affected
- Loss of a family member like a companion.
The amount of compensation often depends on the level of the injury and, importantly, the prowess of the lawyer arguing the case.
Economic damages are meant to compensate the injured victim financially.
- Medical expenses
- Loss of ability to work and earn an income
- Repair or replacement of damaged items
It’s easy to determine economic damages because money spent on medical expenses or an item is already known.
How Can a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Help With My Claim?
A pedestrian accident may cause life-changing damages to an individual, and without compensation, a victim might find it challenging to put their life back on track again. For this reason, one needs a pedestrian accident lawyer to represent them.
The following are ways a pedestrian accident lawyer can help with a claim.
One must file some paperwork within a particular deadline while they’re filing a pedestrian accident lawsuit. A pedestrian accident lawyer will deal with all the paperwork, for instance, preparing pleadings, writing demand letters, and conducting discovery.
Insurance companies will often try to offer accident victims less than they are required to give. If an insurance company suggests a settlement before a person calculates their damage, they will likely get unfair compensation.
A personal accident lawyer will speak on behalf of the victim and lead negotiations when facing the insurance company. An attorney will also be able to deal with the stress of the case, unlike an ordinary individual who’s perhaps never been to a courtroom.
Trial Preparation and Presentation
Preparing for a trial and presentation when the trial begins requires legal expertise, which is why pedestrian accident victims should seek the services of a pedestrian accident lawyer. A qualified lawyer will be able to argue the facts and bring expert witnesses to the trial.
What are the Time Limits for Filing a Claim?
In most cases, a victim usually has three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for the injuries suffered. While three years may seem like a long time, it’s vital to move fast when preparing for the case because it involves a lot of work therefore, more time will be needed.
How Much Will a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Cost?
There isn’t a fixed amount pedestrian accident lawyers can charge, however, most of them have a unique fee structure they work with. The standard contingency fee for a pedestrian accident lawyer is around 30% to 40% of the settlement. Some lawyers are flexible, for example, they could adjust the cost depending on when the case is resolved.
The Bottom Line
While a pedestrian accident victim can negotiate a settlement without the assistance of an attorney, a lawyer is more experienced in dealing with pedestrian accident cases to get the best compensation. Most importantly, a lawyer relieves the victim of the stress of negotiation to help them focus on healing and moving on with life.
Our Pedestrian Accident Lawyer will help victims handle their pedestrian accident cases, ensuring they’re fairly compensated for the loss incurred. Call (Phone) and join thousands of happy clients.